GP likely to pay Tk250cr fine for illegal VoIP business
Grameenphone, the country's largest mobile phone operator, is likely to pay Tk250crore in fine to the telecoms regulator for its involvement in international call termination business, which is not permitted by law.
It is not for the first time that Grameenphone is going to pay fine for such business. The company earlier paid Tk168 crore for VoIP (voice over internet protocol) use.
Grameenphone is waiting to place the matter to its board about how and when it will pay the money to the telecoms watchdog, Bangladesh Tele-communi-cation Regulatory Commission (BTRC), according to sources.
"Grameenphone for the second time will have to pay the amount for VoIP deal that was revealed in January this year," said another source, adding some high officials from Telenor visited Dhaka recently to solve the VoIP issue with the BTRC.
However, a senior official of Grameenphone on Thursday said, "The investigation regarding the allegation of involvement in illegal VoIP activities is going on and Grameenphone is cooperating fully with the authorities.”
The sources in the company said Grameenphone will also take action against the personnel involved in illegal international call termination. VoIP is a technology that allows someone to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line.
Norway's Telenor and Bangladesh's Grameen Telecom hold 62 percent and 38 percent stakes in Grameenphone.
Grameenphone with an over 20 million subscribers is preparing to offload its shares in the capital market by the third quarter of this year.
On January 16 this year the BTRC filed a case against 10 former and in service high officials including two former CEOs of Grameenphone, accusing their involvement in illegal VoIP.
According to the FIR, the former Grameenphone CEOs Erik Aas and Ola Ree, among other former and in service officials, were accused.
Grameenphone, AccessTel, a local internet service provider, and Malaysia-based international call carrier DiGi Telecommunications are also on the accused list.
In the FIR, the telecoms regulatory body said these three companies and individuals were involved in providing international call termination facility or VoIP.
The sources said Grameenphone officials might be relieved of the case after payment of the fine amount. Grameenphone may pay the fine in installment, the sources added.